Abstract

The Upper Cretaceous Nanaimo Group of southwest British Columbia is a >4 km-thick succession consisting mostly of deep marine siliciclastics deposited directly on the Insular Superterrane. As such, this succession has been the focus of several paleomagnetic, isotope geochemistry, paleontology, and sedimentology studies in attempts to elucidate the tectonic history and paleolatitude of the Insular Superterrane and associated entities during the critical time of Nanaimo Group deposition (ca. 90–65 Ma). However, disagreement as to whether deposition occurred into a single or multiple basins has led to confusion concerning the formal stratigraphy and formation names for the succession, and has resulted in problems with both local and regional correlations. The upper two-thirds of the succession is continuously and well exposed on Denman and Hornby islands and represents the best example of this part of the succession in the northern half of what we consider the single Nanaimo Basin. This area includes the previously only informally defined type areas for the Geoffrey and Spray formations, defined here formally for the first time with type sections and detailed descriptions. New interpretations of the geology of these islands demonstrate that previously interpreted major faults do not exist, resulting in stratigraphic and age controls that are both different and simpler than previously interpreted. The redefined stratigraphy of the northern part of the basin is remarkably similar to that of southern areas in both type and age, affirming both a single basin evolution and a single stratigraphic nomenclature.

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